Comic review: Action Comics #7

Action Comics #7Action Comics #7

Written by: Grant Morrison (main story); Sholly Fisch (backup)
Art by: Rags Morales (main story); Brad Walker (backup)

This issue sees a much-welcomed development. Of course, I’m talking about Superman finally disposing of his stupid-looking “Lil’ Abner” costume and getting the “real” one (“real” in quotes, as the DCNU version isn’t the real, familiar one everyone recognizes, but at least doesn’t look as awful as his “first” costume). This comes during the course of his attempt to save the people of Metropolis, which has been shrunk and stolen by Brainiac alongside other cities of the galaxy (including Krypton’s Kandor, of course). Meanwhile, Lois, Jimmy, and Lex seek shelter from spider-like Brainiac robots run amok.

An OK story, with a nice opening line by Superman about how “nothing’s impossible.” (Less nice: referring to his telescopic vision as “zoom vision”… huh?!) Some nods to previous continuities are seen here: Superman wearing an air mask to survive in space (per the Byrne reboot); Brainiac’s classic Silver Age modus operandi (shrinking cities); Metropolis’ Manhattan-like main downtown area being named “New Troy” (mentioned a lot in 90s Superman books). Lois, Jimmy and Lex don’t get to do much, however, besides running and hiding from the Brainiac robots.

The backup story was enjoyable: Steel tries to help the citizens of what’s left of Metropolis while dealing with half the city being abducted by Brainiac. Unlike the Silver Age story introducing Brainiac (where Metropolis’ abduction didn’t seem to have much of a negative consequence on its suburbs, etc.), here we see what happens when a good chunk of Manhattan-sized real estate’s gone: flooding, power lines being down, etc. Hopefully Steel won’t be thrown back into secondary-character-limbo once this storyline ends, especially with DC axing two of its books starring his fellow African-American male heroes (Static, Mr. Terrific).

 

Minorities in cartoons: Nancy Woods

Chuck Clayton and Nancy Woods
Chuck Clayton (middle) and Nancy Woods (right), from "Betty and Veronica" #247

This week’s entry is longtime Archie Comics character Nancy Woods.

First appearing in “Pep” #309 in 1976, Nancy is the longtime steady girlfriend of Chuck Clayton, himself introduced several years earlier. Unlike Nancy’s cohorts Betty and Veronica, Nancy usually doesn’t eye other boys (nor Chuck other girls), making Nancy and Chuck one of the few steady couples in the series. While their relationship lacks the dysfunctional tone of Moose and Midge’s relationship (i.e., Moose’s violent temper/stupidity), Nancy does occasionally argue with Chuck about his paying more attention to his cartooning than their relationship.

Being a secondary Archie character, Nancy rarely gets to star in solo stories, but it’s shown she does have various interests, including cheerleading, art, and writing. She’s also often seen hanging out with Betty, Veronica, and/or Midge.

Nancy’s biggest amount of page time lately has been in the future-set “Life With Archie” series. As an adult, Nancy and Chuck are finally married. Nancy in this series finds work in both running (with Chuck) a comic book shop, plus working for an “Earth-Archie” analog of Dark Horse Comics as a writer.

Supposedly, Nancy also appeared on the 2000s animated series “Archie’s Weird Mysteries,” but I can’t find anything confirming this beyond Wikipedia’s “say-so,” for what that’s worth.